How to Choose Between AC Repair and HVAC Replacement

Eventually, everything breaks down. But, when your AC unit gives out, you want it up and working again as soon as possible. You have two options – AC repair and replacement.

Replacing the unit offers an immediate solution, but it can also be costly.

Before you spend thousands of dollars replacing your HVAC unit, you should determine if air conditioner repair or furnace repair will solve the problem.

Here are a few simple steps that you can take to help you choose between HVAC repair and HVAC replacement.

Compare Air Conditioner Repairs to Replacement Costs

The first step is to compare the cost of repairs to the cost of replacement. So, you’ll need to get a price quote for the cost of HVAC repair. You’ll need to determine how much the repairs will cost to weigh the pros and cons of AC repair or replacement.

After you get a price quote, you can compare this to the cost of replacement.

How much does it cost to install new AC units? Most HVAC systems will cost around $5K for replacement. Though, this will depend on the type of system that you purchase, where you purchase it from, along with other factors.

The cost of installing new AC units can vary. You can expect to spend between $3,692 and $7,134 for a new air conditioner. But, $5K is a good average to use.

You can then multiply the age of your air conditioner or heater by the cost of repairs. If this number is less than 5,000, AC repair may be the better option.

But, if the result is more than 5,000, then you might want to consider replacement.

For example, you’ve got a 9-year old air conditioner in need of repair. The repairs will cost $400. 9 x 400 = 3,600. This is less than 5,000, so repairs may be more cost efficient.

The 5K rule is a good measurement to determine the value of the repairs. But, this isn’t the only factor in choosing between AC repair and replacement.

Upgrading to an Energy Efficient Appliance

Another consideration is the energy efficiency of your unit.

Energy Star, which offers recommendations for improving energy efficiency, suggests that you replace appliances older than 10 years. But, most AC repair technicians suggest replacing anything older than 15 years.

Consider the costs of heating or cooling your home. Compare this to the estimates for the latest HVAC systems.

When you look at energy efficiency ratings, you’ll see SEER and EER ratings. A higher rating means that the unit requires less energy. The minimum rating is EER 10, which was set in 1992. As of 2015, new AC units must have a 14 SEER rating.

If you have an outdated HVAC system, you might save more by replacing the damaged unit.

Additional Factors to Consider Before Replacing Your AC Unit

Along with the age and energy efficiency of your air conditioner or heating system, there is more to consider, such as:

  • Past repairs and previous AC issues
  • The type and extent of the damage
  • How long you plan on staying in the house

If this isn’t the first time that you’ve had to consider replacing your HVAC system, then it could be time to replace it. Frequent repairs are a good indication that your machine is starting to break down.

You should also think about the type of repairs that are needed. Even after repairing the unit, it may not run as efficiently as it used to. This could increase your utility costs.

Another example is the presence of a coolant leak. Adding R-22 refrigerant to an AC system can cost up to $175 per pound. Between this replacement coolant and your repairs, you could easily spend $1000 or more.

Homeowners should also consider how long they plan on staying at their current house. If you plan on selling within the year, then repairs will likely provide the most cost efficient solution.

Final Thoughts on Choosing Between Repair and Replacement

The bottom line is that you need to compare the value of the repairs to the value of replacement.

Remember that a new unit could save you on monthly heating and cooling costs. Though, it can take a while to recoup the cost of replacing the unit.

Search for the cost of installing new AC systems and then get a quote for air condition repair.

Use the $5K rule and multiply the cost of the repairs by the age of the unit. It isn’t always the best idea to repair an aging machine. But, sometimes the only factor that really matters is the final cost.

If you need help making an appropriate decision, your best option is to contact a professional HVAC repair company. Allow an experienced HVAC repair technician examine your unit and determine the cost of repairs.

From there, the technician can provide sound advice and recommendations. They’ll help you weigh the benefits of repair and the cost of replacement.

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